Many of you know I’ve been spending time in the garden. I have found this to be the best type of therapy, not only to help me with losing my gorgeous husband, but to cope with the Coronavirus lockdown and now my dad being taken into hospital with a virus ( not looking like Coronavirus, phew)
When Rich was became quite unwell we decided I should give up work as I wanted to support both him and dad. However there are times in the day when you need to focus on something and Rich and I spent many hours last year redesigning and replanting areas with bargain plants. It was a great success and we wanted to carry on redesigning it this year. I had lots of seeds and had ordered lots of plug plants for bargain prices along with bulbs and seeds Rich bought me for Valentine’s Day. He said it was a better idea to be able to watch something grow and develop than a bunch of flowers that may last a week.
Just after I planted up a big selection, Rich was taken into hospital. It was a tough time as he was at Kings college in London and I was travelling back and forward most days. Quite stressful with talk of Coronavirus starting in this country. The last thing we wanted was to be in hospital and using public transport. The garden became even more important as every morning and every evening I would wander down to the greenhouse and just spend some time watering or taking photos of the growing plants to show Rich on my next visit. It was so relaxing and time to revitalise.
Things in the world suddenly got more scary and as no surgery was available for Rich we asked if he could be transferred back to Darenth Valley to be closer to home and cut out the risk of traveling on public transport. The hospital team were fantastic and arranged for Rich to go to the Ellenor hospice at Gravesend. In truth the hospital was also trying to clear as many vulnerable people as they could. I still spent each morning and night tending to my baby plants in the greenhouse.
Then came talk of lockdown and then rather quickly lockdown. Not being able to leave our homes except for shopping, medical or essential work. We took the decision that I would stay at the hospice. This way I wouldn’t be at risk of taking anything home to dad and Ben or taking any virus into the hospice. But what of the plants? Well I have amazing friends. Every couple of days they would look in and water and check on them. It put my mind at ease that all the time Rich and I had spent on them wouldn’t be in vain. Another friend also picked me up bags of compost and manure as I knew when I returned home I needed to remain busy and keep my mind occupied.
Rich’s battle ended just before midnight on the 1st April. We were holding hands and snuggled up to each other.
But what now? It was the middle of the night and after spending as much time as I needed to say goodbye I drove home to a waiting dad and Ben. What an Earth was I going to do now?
I was exhausted and became quite unwell, what with that and have to isolate from dad and Ben the most I could manage was a short stroll round the garden. What medicine this became for as I look at various areas it triggers wonderful memories or how we did this or that. The trip to the gardeners world show which we both enjoyed and purchased more plants, of which we had to put outside the van each evening to give us enough space to cook and sleep.
Even now, today with my dad in hospital and not allowed any visitors I need to remain occupied. In the process I get so many happy memories. So today after planting a very lovely climbing Rose called, Peace that some friends bought for me in memory of Rich, I took on the challenge of emptying the compost bin.
Now this is not an easy task. It’s quite physical but great for the mind and good exercise. You have to start by taking the flap off the bottom and shovelling it out into a sieve. Then when you’ve worked it through it’s super healthy compost ready for the garden. It was fantastic for my mind as I spread the compost around I reflected on different places we had been and the days out we had buying the plants. The biggest smile I had today was when I went to spread the compost on a blue flowering plant that Rich had chosen. I hadn’t seen it coming through yet but today there it was. It would certainly have made him smile and revisit it each day to watch it grow.
I carried on for hours, four big tubs of compost were scattered around the garden. Fingers crossed for some fantastic blooms this year.
How do I feel now? Exhausted but not miserable or upset. I’ve smiled at positive times and fun adventures. Gardening really is a tonic to recovery x x